The Pro Football Hall of Fame will welcome seven new members later this year in Canton, Ohio. The Class of 2017 was announced Saturday night. It features kicker Morten Andersen; running back Terrell Davis; safety Kenny Easley; owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones; defensive end Jason Taylor; running back LaDainian Tomlinson; and quarterback Kurt Warner.
I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what this year’s Class did during its high school playing days.
Morten Andersen, who was born in Denmark where he played soccer, is said to have kick his first American football on a whim at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. Andersen attended Ben Davis as a senior exchange student.
Congrats to former Ben Davis kicker Morten Andersen for being inducted into the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame! pic.twitter.com/85746peq6C
— Ben Davis Football (@BenDavisFB) February 5, 2017
He only played one year of high school football before being offered a scholarship to Michigan State.
Terrell Davis played at Lincoln High School in San Diego, California. Davis didn’t begin playing high school football until his junior year. He wore No. 7 and began his career as a nose guard, before being moved to fullback during his senior season. Lincoln High is also the alma mater of Davis’ fellow Hall of Famer, Marcus Allen.
Below is a great video from KUSI-TV in San Diego from 2015 that contains highlights of Davis and Allen during their playing days at Lincoln.
Kenny Easley played at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Easley played quarterback and free safety, becoming the first player in the history of Virginia high school football to run and pass for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
While Jerry Jones isn’t entering as a player, he did play high school and college football in Arkansas. Jones played at North Little Rock High School where he was a running back. He then went-on to the University of Arkansas where we was surprisingly moved to the offensive line and became a co-captain on the Razorbacks’ 1964 national championship team. Jones only weighed 183-pounds when he played at Arkansas.
Jason Taylor played his high school football at Woodland Hills in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Taylor, who was homeschooled from 10th through his senior year, is one of eleven pro football players produced by legendary head coach George Novak.
Below is an excerpt from a 2005 story from observer-reporter.com that details how Novak and Taylor met.
George Novak was driving home one day when he noticed a strong young man doing some landscape work in a neighbor’s yard.
Novak, the head football coach at Woodland Hills High School, struck up a conversation with the kid, Jason Taylor, who had just moved to the district from Steel Valley.
“I asked him why he wasn’t out for the football team, and he said ‘I don’t know. I’m home-schooled, am I allowed?'” Novak said, recalling the conversation.
Novak spoke with Woodland Hills School Board about Taylor’s situation, and the district revised its policy to allow home-school students to participate in extracurricular activities. . . .
In two short yearsp at Woodland Hills, Taylor was offered a scholarship by Akron.
LaDainian Tomlinson played at University High School in Waco, Texas. He began his football career as a linebacker, but eventually worked his way onto the offense. During his season season, Tomlinson ran 2,554 yards and 39 touchdowns, becoming the the District 25-4A Most Valuable Player. He was also named to state all-star football team.
Kurt Warner played at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Warner was a multi-sport athlete, who in four seasons of varsity football, broke every school passing record. As a senior, he was named All-State and played in the North-South Shrine Bowl.
— Pro Football HOF (@ProFootballHOF) February 6, 2017